How to Choose a Background for Your Food Photograph – Meeta K from What’s For Lunch Honey Explains

Meeta K Interview Part 2A great background in a food photo is very important. A carefully chosen background improves food photographs to a great extent. Meeta is one of the few food photographers who has a special skill in choosing the right background for food photos. In second part of our interview with Meeta, she shares with us how she selects background for wonderful food photographs and the thought process that Meeta goes through to pick up a background for her photos. We posted the first part of interview with Meeta K yesterday, let’s continue our interview with Meeta.

You have this knack for creating amazing backgrounds in your food photos. Can you tell our readers, what makes a great background? How do you choose the background? Give us some tips.

Thank you! As I said above it basically depends on the message or atmosphere one is looking to create. Is it a fun colorful shot with the intention to evoke happy and pleasant feelings or is it a darker, elegant shot with the intention of evoking intense feelings, for example? I ask myself these questions when I am cooking/baking my dish. What do I want to say with my picture for this dish? I also look at the color and texture of the food, because it helps me to either go with a background that is complementary to the food or one that is slightly different. I usually like simple settings and styling one that puts all the attention on the main motive, according to this I choose the napkins, cutlery and plates, like for example the rosewater and raspberry macarons or the baked vanilla infused peach risotto.

Raspberry Macarons

Principally, when one looks at the shots they are very simple. The styling and the backgrounds are reduced to a minimum with the whole attention fixed on the actual dish. But even though the styling is kept simple and somewhat similar in both images, they evoke totally different feelings and send different messages across. Sometimes I want the picture to depict more of a table setting – the feeling that someone is going to be sitting down and enjoy a meal or show the prep of a certain dish like in my recent saffron brioche post. BriocheSaffron

The background I used was actually a few boards of wood parkett that I got at a hardware store. I then used different ingredients that I used to make the brioche for the prep shot and one or two other items for the plating shot.

One can use almost anything for a background and I seriously do. Wrapping paper, wallpaper, wooden boards etc. In my eyes almost everything is a prop or a background for my future pictures. I love rummaging through hardware stores, antique shops, yes even when people throw out their bulky waste like old furniture etc. I will go and check the stuff out just in case I find something that I can use.

Your favorite food photographers/stylists and food photography websites?

I have many professional food photographers I really like, each one for a different reason. However I am most attracted to food bloggers who are capable of taking and styling exceptional food shots. My favorite food bloggers have got to be Aran of Cannelle et Vanille, Ilva of Lucullian Delights, Sabra of Cookbook Catchall and Bea of La Tartine Gourmande. These ladies have such an unique style and evoke many emotions in me with their food photography. For example I love the way Aran plays with light in her shots. Ilva takes very different kind of pictures – she uses great backgrounds and her styling is very much bold and straight to the point – just like her. Sabra’s shots are refreshing and full of spirit and Bea creates a whole lifestyle with her images.

Other new food bloggers I admire for their work are Mowie from Mowielicious, Rick of À La Mode, Thorsten of My2Penn’orth and Sari of Cook Your Dream. All have been a part of the food blogging "scene" for just about a year and certainly bring a breath of fresh air with their stunning photography.

What would you advice to aspiring food photographers and stylists who are trying to learn this art?

Oh golly! I never consider myself in the position to "give advice"! Since I pretty much learned this art from scratch and still think I have a lot to learn – all I really want to say is to follow your creativity. If you have a passion for food photography then go for it. Learn – no better – eat and inhale everything you can about photography and practice. Get yourself a decent DSLR camera – it does not have to be top of the mark – the best you can buy on your budget and learn everything you can about the camera. Make it your third arm/hand and just put into practice everything you read and learn. But most important have fun while you are doing this!

Again, Thank You Meeta!

Meeta, thank you for taking time for this interview.

People, say Hello to Meeta on twitter @MeetaWFLH and tell her how you liked this interview or please leave her a comment below. I am sure she would like your feedback on the interview.

Photos used in this post are copyright property of Meeta K. Please contact her for usage and permissions.

  • Loved the advice about the props!

    • Thank you for the comment Miriam. Meeta’s advice here is just amazing and simple. The best thing I like about this is you don’t need expensive stuff to implement this.

  • this is so great, thank you. My food photos never come out as I want them to be 🙁 the food looks so much better ‘live’, but then I am just starting out and don’t have a great camera either…

    • Glad you liked it Magda. I was so excited do interview her and Mowie. It is good to hear from these wonderful people who have mastered the art of food photography.

  • Enjoyed reading this! It is going to be very helpful as I learn photography!

    • Thank you for your comment. Meeta has lot of wonderful information in this interview.

  • Thanks everyone for your feedback. Glad you all are enjoying the interview!

    • Thanks to you Meeta. You know that soon I’ll be sending you some bribe 😉

  • Nice interview. It was very useful…

  • What a fab interview! Thank you Meeta so very much for mentioning me among your favourite bloggers! I’m truly honoured and humbled!

  • Robyn

    Thanks for the tips, your photos come out beautifully, so I’m grateful that you would share your knowledge. Great interview

  • Mia

    Thank you very much for sharing. I learned a lot!

    And i have to say, that girl sure has a lot to share! She just has this very good instincts on what to use as effective backgrounds. 🙂

  • Meeta is a natural creative and stylist person..She can capture and show the message from her shots.

    Nelly Wang

  • George Henderson

    Thanks a lot.I’ve learned something from the interview.I am an aspiring photographer who loves to take pictures of food. These tips are truly useful for me

  • Roy B Magdaraog

    Hello! ask advice for a nice DSLR and Lens for FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY. As of now m usinf a Nikon D60 with 18-55mm with 2 flash old models Nikon SB and SUNPAK. m palnning for a new DSLR and lens.


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